Wednesday, April 23, 2014





Live long and become the illogical component of a joke


July 09. 2013 11:14AM

By - mguydish@civitasmedia.com - 570-970-9161






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Fake arrow through head? Classic party icon … if you’re partying in the 1970’s heyday of Steve Martin’s early career.


Sign offering line dance lessons? Another party icon from the 1980s or later if we’re talking about the Electric Slide, or the 90s if the reference is “Achy Breaky Heart.”


Lampshade on the head? Timeless party symbol for anyone born after Thomas Edison.


But “Party Hardy” Mr. Spock? As the fictional science officer from the original Star Trek TV series would say “Fascinating.”


I didn’t understand when I saw it in an editorial cartoon we ran June 4. I admit that’s a long lag time in writing about it, but put that five weeks in the context of Spock’s own existence. The character was born in the 1964 unsuccessful first pilot episode and was seen in 1966 after a second pilot episode convinced NBC to air the series.


Spock has appeared in many permutations over the decades, including a Saturday morning cartoon Spock, but to see his image in an editorial cartoon about IRS party excesses? What was he doing there?


I mean, I know the IRS also stupidly made an expensive and bad Star Trek video spoof, but this cartoon was not about that, was it? And I know President Barack Obama made the unforgivable gaffe of combining Star Trek with Star Wars when he mashed Obi Wan Kenobi into Spock by referring to a “Jedi mind meld.” The horror! The horror! (Hey, if we’re mixing cultural references, why not add a bit of “Heart of Darkness” — or for those who get all their touchstones from movies, “Apocalypse Now”).


Presumably the cartoon was intended to more broadly belittle IRS excesses, including the agency’s inane Trek spoof. Even so, wouldn’t it have made more sense to go with Gilligan? The IRS made a spoof of Gilligan’s Island as well. Surely the bumbling, accident-prone first mate of the S.S. Minnow better embodies IRS ineptitude than the smart and orderly science officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise.


Okay, I admit it, this is probably more about my childhood admiration of Spock. I was 9 years old when he became the most recognizable alien on TV. Trying to find my own identity in a family with nine kids, Spock somehow appealed.


So free of emotional turmoil — well, except for the struggles with his human half, but that just made him more relatable. So keen-edged and piercingly analytic, getting to the scientific nub of any issue faster than a Duotronic computer. His Vulcan neck pinch could effortlessly leave you unconscious, and he melded minds with carbon-based humans and silicon-based Hortas alike.


Best of all he introduced me to the concept of logic, the realm of reasoning that favors facts when making decisions. As opposed to, say, basing decisions on rigid ideology or political expediency.


Which means the IRS, as well as the politicians blasting or supporting the agency, shouldn’t be spoofing Mr. Spock or critiquing bad impersonations.


They should be learning from him.


 
 


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